David Thompson
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November 10, 2010

Comments

Bob-B

Am I right in thinking that both wives and husbands are oppressed by this smug tyranny of husbands and wives'? I do hope so. I want to be oppressed too.

Anna

"We are both fed up with being part of the hetero-husband-and-wife brigade that is accorded so much status and privilege... Had civil partnerships been available we might have been the first in the queue of heterosexual couples now fighting for the right to become partners."

Classic Guardian.

Obviously the big wedding just wasn't enough. She wants to be the centre of attention all over again.

David

“She wants to be the centre of attention all over again.”

Tsk. Anna, you cynic. She’s not doing this for *herself*. It’s for the greater good.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

Would men in heterosexual civil partnerships be subjected to less nagging than those who actually get married?

JuliaM

Shorter CiF post: 'Look at me! Me, over here! Are you looking? Look at meeeee!'

Darleen Click

"getting married" was a sign of maturity, a rite of passage that stated to the community at large that the two people were committed to each other and their future together, and the gathered family and friends who celebrated with them also were in support of the couple's decision.

Little Ms Lara found out she really didn't want to grow up.

Someone hand her a binkie.

mlrosty

"One of the more recent vows we made to each other was to promise to divorce if the Tories introduce a tax break for married couples. We want no part of that."

Let me get this straight. If the Conservatives introduce tax breaks for married couples she'll get divorced on principle but still live like a married couple. AND she wants the 'right' to have a *straight* civil partnership -even though civil partners would get exactly the same tax breaks?

Patrick Brown

The bit I like is:

'When you marry, you gain a certain unspoken gravitas, as though society heaves a collective sigh of relief: "Thank God they've grown up." '

She's certainly doing her best to prove them wrong.

David

mlrosty,

Being ostentatiously ‘unmarried-but-non-single’ (as it were) is not only more egalitarian, apparently, it also makes people like Ms Pawson terribly complicated and interesting. A happy coincidence.

Darleen,

For some reason, I’m reminded of Ms Pawson’s fellow Guardianista Bidisha, who described true love as “a deceitful and damaging fantasy” and denounced marriage as “a legalised prostitution trap cum labour exploitation racket.” And who flitted from pining over Sandra Bullock one minute to being titillated by the “kinkiness” of celibacy the next. All of which makes her incredibly fascinating and complex too, I think you’ll agree.

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2010/04/sap.html

Rafi

"the smug tyranny of husbands and wives"

The smug stupidity of Guardian columnists.

Uncle Deetou

Great post... cheered me up no end. Thanks.

Trimegistus

Please, please, PLEASE tell me this woman hasn't reproduced, and her idiocy will die with her.

Anna

She's still digging the same hole in the comments.

"I also think that the privileged need to be made aware of their privilege, hence my views on race. White people need to be made aware of their privilege and of discrimination and racism. Otherwise the majority don't think about it. I believe it is the same thing with marriage."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/10/the-tyranny-of-marriage?showallcomments=true#comment-8331012

She’s EDUCATING us, see? We should be thanking her.

David

Anna,

Apparently, her column is “a bid to make Britain a fairer and more equal society.” Note the assumption that a “fairer” society would be a “more equal” one.

“We should be thanking her.”

I’m thankful for the Guardian every day. It brings so much laughter to our lives.

Sam

"Perhaps the garden marquee, extensive guest list and “almighty knees-up” were meant to express the injustice, tragedy and trauma of the event."

Thank you, David. Still laughing.

dicentra

We wanted a public celebration to acknowledge our love

Silly woman. Like Darleen said, weddings are not public celebrations of love, as if anyone but the couple gives a rip about their love, but rites of passage to help you make the transition from single life to married--and grown-up--life.

Marriage OUGHT to be privileged: it's the bedrock relationship of human development. And I say this as a terminally single woman living in a very marriage-oriented Mormon culture who often feels ignored and left out of the mainstream. Because I pretty much am. And?

If I am capable of understanding that It's Not About Me, does that make me incredibly fascinating and complex, or merely oppressed by false consciousness?

David

Sam,

Happy to oblige. In the comments and on her own blog Ms Pawson pursues the idea further. By getting married at all – even in a register office – Ms Pawson feels she has “colluded in an inequality in our so-called democracy.” (Again, the exact nature of the offensive “privilege” and grievous “inequality” remains unclear.)

She goes on,

“We need to move away from the hegemony of coupledom to consider all sorts of other relationships, such as those shown to us by nuns and monks…. Why stop at 1+1 if 5 people want to get together (and raise or not raise kids); or if two sisters want to legislate their relationship; or three monks; or four anarchists; or a group of mates?”

Apparently it’s “unfair” that the relationships between nuns or students sharing a house aren’t deemed legally interchangeable with those of lifelong couples with children. And hey, maybe children could be raised just as well by casual friends, polygamists or a collective of student anarchists.

Think outside the box, people!

randian

"Readers may note that civil partnerships are based on the same “heteronormative” model"

It is rather interesting, is it not, how homosexuals whine about the alleged evils of "heteronormativity" while simultaneously demanding to be included in that most heteronormative of institutions, marriage.

Rob

Whenever I see someone use the word 'hegemony', especially if they wear glasses, I reach for my gun - except I haven't got one of course.

These people are mentally ill.

svh

As I'm single I must belong to this new victim class. Where's my compensation?

CJ

OK...forgive this Yank, but what does "almighty knees-up" mean? I think I know, but don't really know, I think.

It's "smug" to notice that a fellow citizen has grown up and will procreate responsibly -- pretty much the purpose of all species?

This isn't complicated: Heterosexual marriage benefits the couple and the community. Homosexual marriage benefits the couple only. Whether you're pro or anti, you have to acknowledge the fundamental difference.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

"Being ostentatiously ‘unmarried-but-non-single’ (as it were) is not only more egalitarian, apparently, it also makes people like Ms Pawson terribly complicated and interesting."

If she wants 'egalitarianism' in sexual relationships, I'd like to put in a claim for my share of sex from both of them. And I'll film it and call it "art" so that they can subsidize it.

WTP

I was just about to say kinda what Ted said...If she's all for equality and fairness in every word and deed, why would she desire any sort of union with just one other person. She should be giving it up to anyone who asks. Anything less smacks of privilege, discrimination, and possibly even racism and homophobia. Fidelity is theft.

This must fit in to negative freedom/positive liberty some how too, but unfortunately I'v got real work to do...

JuliaM

"And hey, maybe children could be raised just as well by casual friends, polygamists or a collective of student anarchists."

Or wolves?

Hey, I'm thinking outside the box!

David

CJ,

“What does ‘almighty knees-up’ mean?”

A lively, boisterous party with music and dancing. As in the pub song, “Knees Up Mother Brown,” which appeared in the film Mary Poppins.

http://www.trasksdad.com/MusicHall/Knees/Knees.mp3

CJ

Thanks David. I was beginning to think it refered to actual wedding night activity. Not if Mary Poppins is using it.

Amazing...it's not even that her marriage is now nothing more than a tool for protest. "Protest" gives it too much credit. She's made her marriage a form of performance art.

svh

CJ,

That's knee trembler. ;)

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/knee-trembler

TimT

She needs a reverse marriage counsellor, to talk her and her husband through their lack of a reason for divorce, and help them find their way to a less loving, less trusting, more fractured relationship.

rjmadden

I've been married for 12 years and never noticed any smugness or tyranny on our part. But I've taken on board what Ms Pawson has to say about the hegemony of coupledom and I will no longer privilege my marriage over other relationships.

My wife will be pleased.

newbie

Choosing to make a binding commitment to the person you love is "smug tyranny".

Only in the Guardian.

TDK

"Knees Up..." isn't in Mary Poppins. You're thinking of "Step in Time", which is a rip off/homage.

TDK

OK, we've got her side of how the marriage ended in divorce. Now let's hear his side.

David

“You’re thinking of ‘Step in Time’, which is a rip off/homage.”

Ah, quite right. Must brush up on the classics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T5_0AGdFic

Daniel

"So present those buttocks, madam. There are always strangers in need."

A bit harsh. ;)

David

“A bit harsh.”

But necessary.

What’s interesting is that, despite having written an article and numerous replies to readers, maybe 2000 words in total, the basis of Ms Pawson’s objection is still somewhat mysterious.

The “privilege” and “smugness” she rails against – but fails to demonstrate – was apparently a belated discovery: “It was only when we had married that we realised the extent to which it alters your place in society… I started to see and feel in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that it was a privilege that I did not want to be part of.” So subtle is this phenomenon she can’t quite tell us what it is or why it bothers her so, or why it should bother anyone else. She does, however, tell us, “By getting married, you are implicating yourself in a particular state project.” One that entails “inherent discrimination” of an unspecified but hugely objectionable kind, because “when you marry you become part of a (normative) elite.”

Which isn’t the strongest argument for divorcing the man she claims to love or for making a fuss about it in a national newspaper, supposedly as an act of political heroism.

And hence the doubts regarding her motives.

tehag

I hope everything the Guardian and the EU wishes for comes to pass in Europe. Someone has to set a bad example, and through dissipation, lose all their privileges and birthrights: faster, please, that EU might serve as a warning to the next five centuries on the stupidity of Leftism. (The 20th century being, apparently, unconvincing.)

Kevin B

If she knew he was a tranny before they got married, I've no sympathy. Anyway, isn't it a bit off boasting about ditching her poor hubby just because he likes to dress up a bit? And in the Graun as well!

SG

Besides the gay/straight bit how is a civil partnership any different from being married in a register office?

pst314

"Choosing to make a binding commitment to the person you love is smug tyranny."

Well, this is the Grauniad, where the only binding relationships one should have are with The State.

Sting

Brave woman! She married so she could be smugly oppressed but now she is getting smugly divorced so we might all be free!

Smug! That's the Smuguardian for you.

David

SG,

“Besides the gay/straight bit how is a civil partnership any different from being married in a register office?”

Quite. In what significant way is a marriage in a register office (which Ms Pawson already has) disagreeably “privileged” above a civil partnership (which she now wants instead)? Announcing a desire to divorce the man she claims to love – and to do so ostentatiously as a political gesture – suggests there must be some huge moral consideration. One she fails to articulate, despite repeated requests. And so it smells like exhibitionism: “Look at me, see how I renounce my ‘privilege’ and mingle with the oppressed. What *will* I do next?”

Ms Pawson does, however, find time to say this: “I can’t help but feel that those… who haven't a clue what I’m talking about are taking a similar position to the oft-held response many white British people have on race. If they aren’t directly giving someone racist abuse, they don’t see what the problem is; they don’t see the benefit that being white gives them in this er-hum, ‘civilised’ society.” I know, it’s the Guardian, so some allusion to racism had to be shoehorned in sooner or later. But still, note the audacity of what’s being implied. If you don’t see the (as yet unspecified) problem, then you’re part of it By implication, then, it’s our fault we don’t see the magnitude of an injustice that she can’t be bothered to explain.

Perhaps Ms Pawson makes the same assumptions as the straight couple mentioned in her piece and who repeatedly applied for a civil partnership ceremony, knowing it would be declined. The couple claim their human rights have now been “violated.” This is their explanation: “The refusal was expected but it is still very frustrating. We are committed to each other and really want a civil partnership. We don’t like the patriarchal traditions of marriage and don’t want to be called husband and wife. Tom and I see each other as equal partners. That’s why civil partnerships appeal to us. They are more egalitarian and better reflect our relationship.”

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/11/09/straight-couple-denied-civil-partnership-again/

The “frustration” is manufactured and pretentious. To think of marriage in the 21st century in terms of “patriarchy” is positively quaint. I don’t know of any modern marriage that could be described as “patriarchal.” Objecting to the terms “husband” and “wife,” as if they can only denote egregious inequality, only confirms their narcissism.

These people aren’t frustrated or oppressed. They’re exhibitionists.

Rob

Took an absolute battering in the comments, even by usual CiF standards. People like her live in such a small bubble that they appear an alien lifeform whenever they step out of it.

Matt

"Besides the gay/straight bit how is a civil partnership any different from being married in a register office?"

Maybe the "heteronormativity" or whatever of a regular marriage is part of the tyrannical smugness?

It seems like, as with so much the Left rails against about society, her basic grudge is with the idea that different actions have different consequences, and will be looked upon by society at large with differing levels of respect. And that the "unearned" respect she gets from being married is thus tyrannical against everyone NOT married. Or something like that.

Maybe she figures that "downgrading" her relationship from a formal marriage to a mere civil partnership will alleviate her of the "burden" of being part of an institution she finds so divisive.

So the reasoning's there; it's the premise (a society that's judgement-free except when it comes to one's degree of publicly-shown devotion to self-righteous leftist claptrap, which they see as the only true virtue) that's complete bull. Garbage in, garbage out.

sackcloth and ashes

'A job in journalism I was up for suddenly became unavailable: a female manager called to say that now I was married she presumed that it would be difficult for me to be a foreign correspondent'.

Sounds like a misguided example of letting someone down lightly. If I was in said manager's shoes, I wouldn't employ Ms Pawson in any capacity - let alone as a representative for my newspaper overseas - on account of the fact that she's a complete and utter waste of DNA. And I'd tell her that to her face.

sk60

"For exhibitionist ideologues, the words "husband" and "wife" must – simply must – denote inequality. You can see the terrible bind they're in."

They're fighting for their right to look down on married couples.

David

sk60,

I’m sure Mr Freeman and Ms Doyle like to think of themselves as terribly “progressive” and forward-looking. But their own assumptions and linguistic baggage suggest they’re actually dogmatic and reactionary.

Darleen Click

"Fidelity is theft"

Oh WTP, consider that phrase stolen!!

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